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AmeriCanada!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

america canada merger

This segment first aired live on the Brian Lehrer Show on November 13, 2013. An edited version was included as part of a best-of show on December 26 (the original audio is included here).

A modest proposal: merge Canada and the US. Diane Francis, editor at large for Toronto's National Post, thinks it's a good idea. Her new book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country(Harper, 2013), explores the economic, political, and cultural implications of the super-merger.


Excerpt: Merger of the Century by Diane Francis

The Case for a Merger

In 2014, Scots will hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom, and the debate has mostly concerned the economic aspects. One poll showed that 79 percent of Scots would vote for independence if they reaped an economic benefit of £500 a year or more per capita, but would not vote for independence if there was no economic benefit.23 In the case of a U.S.–Canada merger, there would be economic gains for both countries. Canadians would receive compensation in return for their resources, and the new partnership would yield untold opportunities and benefits for both populations.

I believe the United States and Canada should and can merge, but I also recognize why this would be difficult. I believe this is the most desirable way forward. I also believe a merger is achievable. In the absence of a merger, or another form of political fusion, energy will be just one of several contentious issues that could cause confrontations and damage to both sides. There are several scenarios that would represent security threats to the United States and lead to conflicts and some form of intervention. For instance, if China, Russia and others succeeded in capturing control over much of Canada’s resources and its Arctic region, thus gaining political influence, the relationship between the U.S. and Canada would be disrupted, as would oil shipments. Likewise, if Canada continued to mishandle its First Nations and other aboriginal issues involving land claims and compensation issues, there would be an escalation in the frequency and gravity of incidences involving civil disobedience, border breaches and violence to infrastructure and corporate assets. Finally, if Quebec separatists tried to exit Canada again, economic and political instability would generate undesirable spillover effects on the U.S. economy. There might also be sabotage and violence by environmentalists that Canada would not be in a position to prevent. Any one, or a combination, of these possibilities would, in extreme circumstances, certainly lead to confrontation, violence or even invasion. Such scenarios may appear improbable, but serious incidents have occurred in the past.

The likeliest clash could arise if China’s aggressive entry into Canada’s economic and political arenas is allowed to continue. In 2012, Beijing was able to pull off its biggest foreign takeover anywhere in the world when Canada’s federal government allowed the $15 billion purchase of a large Canadian oil company despite considerable public opposition, warnings by Canadian intelligence agency officials and the recent establishment of precedents against such takeovers. Even more puzzling, Canada agreed to a sweeping trade deal that afforded China special market access for thirty-one years and full legal protection without reciprocal rights to Canadians operating in China. The deal, when signed, cannot be canceled for fifteen years, whereas the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) can end on six months’ notice.

China has targeted Canada for years because of its enormous oil sands, its undeveloped resources, its dominant Arctic position, its backdoor entry into the U.S. market and technology sector, and its vast landmass capable of supporting millions more people. Until 2012, China, like Russia, slowly picked off minority ownership in public companies, often undisclosed, or bought private, small companies. Obviously, gaining more political influence in Canada is in the long-term interests of both nations.

Canadian leaders, convinced the takeover would gain markets and sell oil to Asia, suddenly recognized the China playbook: no sooner had the takeover and trade deal been approved than China rolled out its Arctic scheme. In late 2012, Canada’s federal government was asked to approve a gigantic mining plan in Nunavut that involved development of a Chinese-owned-and-operated port, and town, on the Arctic Ocean. This was billed as a one-off transaction, but the Chinese intend to create a string of ports and listening posts to gain control along the Northwest Passage because of its logistical importance to trade in the future.

Such initiatives, and their underlying grand strategy, will eventually place Canada in the middle of a contest among the United States, China and Russia for resources and control of the Arctic. By many measures, Canada is no match for any of these superpowers.
By 2011, the four biggest Chinese oil companies—PetroChina, Sinopec, Chinese National Oil Corporation and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)—had combined revenues of $1.1 trillion, equivalent to 78.8 percent of Canada’s GDP.24 Russia’s Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft, TNK-BP and Surgutneftegas had combined revenues in 2012 of $406.89 billion, equivalent to 29 percent of Canada’s GDP. These companies have political agendas and powerful proprietors—Beijing in China’s case and the Kremlin in the case of Russian oligarchs. Neither nation upholds the same values as Canadians or Americans, and they represent Trojan horses that are eager to partition an already weak, fragmented Canada.

At the same time, Canada also faces internal challenges concerning its hundreds of restive First Nations bands, environmental organizations and Quebec separatists. In 1995, during the last Quebec referendum, two First Nations threatened to block the St. Lawrence Seaway and to vandalize power lines serving the industrial U.S. Eastern Seaboard if Quebec attempted to force them to leave Canada. That same year, separatist leaders tried to recruit Canadian military personnel and threatened to seize Canada’s fleet of jet fighters, stationed mostly in Quebec, if they won.25 In 2005, a CBC documentary alleged that Canada’s military officials flew jets to a U.S. air base so they could not be seized and used as pawns.26 In 2012, the separatists regained power in Quebec.

More recently, in 2011, a First Nations chief in British Columbia threatened to harm herself rather than allow construction of an oil pipeline through her band’s contested lands. Then, in December 2012, another chief went on a hunger strike to demand sweeping land claims and compensation, and a new youth movement called Idle No More staged protests in Canada and the U.S. The movement was formed out of frustration felt across Canada’s over 630 First Nations communities.27 The elected chief of the Assembly of Nations was pressured to leave office on a medical leave, and thousands staged protests caused work stoppages and blocked highways. Their grievances have remained mostly unaddressed throughout Canada’s history.

Against such internal or external incursions, Canada carries no big stick. In 2011, Canada’s active military personnel totaled 68,250,28 or roughly the seating capacity of Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The Canadian coastline, at 151,500 miles, is the world’s longest, but its navy, respected worldwide, comprises only 8,500 regular personnel, 5,100 reserve sailors and thirty-three ships,29 including four submarines, which are not able to spend a significant amount of time under the polar ice because these aging vessels lack the ventilation and other equipment to do so. The second-longest coastline is Indonesia’s, at 34,000 miles, guarded by 111 ships and 74,000 personnel. The United States, with the ninth-greatest length of coastline (12,380 miles), has an armada of 287 ships and more than 317,000 active personnel (plus 109,000 reservists) that patrol the world.30

Canada’s military dependency on the United States is nothing new and is the subtext of the relationship. This dependency, which has existed since Britain faded after 1919 as a superpower, has required Canada, like other smaller nations, to align itself with the grand strategy of its superpower-benefactor or, alternatively, remain pliant. This means that Canada, in other words, cannot bite the hand that guards it.

Occasionally, Canada has crossed the line. Since 9/11, minor disagreements and border irritants have turned into serious bilateral clashes behind closed doors. Few are aware of just how serious the issues are, and that they go way beyond the truck bottlenecks or lengthening lineups at airports and border crossings. The border choke since 9/11 is just one symptom of a deteriorating relationship.

The border clog is harming Canada. Trade has increased in absolute numbers since the peak in 2001 because of the appreciation of commodity prices, but has fallen as a percentage of Canada’s GDP as a whole. Two-way trade grew from $409.778 billion in 2000 to $596.235 billion in 2011,but Canadian exports to the U.S. represented 19.1 percent of its GDP in 2011, compared to 34.4 percent in 2000. Furthermore, Canada’s exports to the U.S. contributed 2.3 percent growth to Canada’s economy from 1982 to 2001 and only 0.5 percent afterward.31

The U.S. and Canada could have avoided some problems by moving further toward economic integration, as others have in Europe, Africa or the Caribbean. But they have remained at the nascent, or Free-Trade Era stage, in terms of economic integration, since 1989. Others have created customs unions, monetary unions, common markets, economic unions, fiscal unions and even some degree of political union. The U.S. and Canada remained frozen at initial stages, mostly because Mexico was unable to participate. But by 2010, the two had decoupled and begun to negotiate more integration in order to create a security perimeter to address police, immigration and customs issues.

This resulted in the announcement in early 2011, by the two countries, of an initiative called Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, designed to create stronger perimeter security and accelerate the flow of people, goods and services between the two countries by 2013. The objective was to address bilateral economic and political difficulties, and to open the border to commerce in order to please Canada. But to please Americans, the goal was to block criminals, terrorists, illegal substances and contraband from entering either country through enhanced cooperation between law enforcement and other officials.

Obviously, the announced goals were mutually exclusive. The border is no longer working properly for either nation, and the perimeter deal won’t either. The border will continue to close. In fall 2011, the media reported that the U.S. was considering fencing off parts of the U.S.–Canada border, and it has been deploying drones to patrol the border since 2006. The only foolproof way to fix the border—as well as avert conflict—is to eliminate it altogether.

This book makes the case for a merger, and proposes some business and policy approaches to accomplish the goal. The aim is to quantify Canada’s value to Americans so they realize just how important Canada is to their future, and to make Canadians realize America’s importance to them along with the need for more integration, if not an outright merger. It also outlines the economic and political power Canadians deserve and could wield if the two countries joined forces and how this could remove future logjams in the U.S. political process. I examine world business and political trends, border conflicts, the vanishing options available for America and Canada in their current incarnations, the synergies of a merger, five ways to structure a deal and how to finance a deal, how political resistance and differences could be addressed, and the options available if there is no merger in the near or far future.

Do I believe a merger will happen? I honestly don’t know. But it should. Americans and Canadians cannot ignore or refuse to consider such a policy option, no matter how objectionable it may seem and no matter how seemingly impossible or costly. The countries cannot maintain their living standards and are too heavily invested in a free-market model that is being outmaneuvered, and will be destroyed, by nations and regions that purposely divide them or that adhere to their own unique forms of state capitalism.

Politically, their outdated constitutional constructs and democratic institutions are flawed, perhaps impossible to improve or even merge. But an economic union is certainly possible, fully or partially, governed by an improved super-layer of government over existing federal levels. If even that attainable goal is also unlikely, then Canada must transform itself in a way that has historically proved elusive. So must the United States. Each must change, merger or no, because whatever the future, the status quo is not an option. Ideally, this book will help Americans and Canadians realize that they have decisions to make and that the way forward, even if challenging, would be to unite like the Germans, govern like the Swiss and think more like the Chinese.

Guests:

Diane Francis
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
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Comments [55]

Fred from Arizona / Ontario

One tantalizing reason for the changing US demographic to consider such a partnership is the probability that, with the addition of 30 million Canadian voters, you would likely not see another Republican in the White House for decades. As for a good reason for Canadians to endorse it, especially with the prospect of losing their far superior health care system - I know it's a futile exercise duelling anecdotes, but my wife's Toronto area MRI in October took all of 2 1/2 weeks to arrange and perform, and our cost was $zero - I'm afraid I just can't think of one.

Dec. 26 2013 07:39 PM
APRIL from MANHATTAN, NYC

SORRY FOR CAPS. BAD EYES. I SPEND A MONTH EACH SUMMER IN THAT PARADISE DESCRIBED ABOVE MOSTLY BY CANADIANS. CANADIANS AREN'T "POLITE", BUT PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE. THEY KNOW SQUAT ABOUT THE US UNLESS THEY'VE LIVED THERE. I HEAVE A SIGH OF RELIEF COMING BACK INTO THE US. THE CBC WOULD COLLECTIVELY DIE IF THEY WERE FORCED TO SAY ANYTHING POSITIVE ABOUT AMERICA. IF IT IS POSITIVE, THEY USE THE NAME OF CITY OR STATE. A REPORTER SAID "AMERICAN TV HAS NO DOCUMENTARIES". SAY WHA? EVER WATCH PBS? COMMENTERS SEEM UNINFORMED THAT WE ARE NOW ENERGY INDEPENDENT WITH GOD AWFUL FRACKING AND NEW EXPLORATION. WE DON'T WANT CANADA'S FILTHY TAR SANDS OIL!!!! LEAVING IT IN THE GROUND IS THE ONLY REASONABLE THING TO DO IF YOU CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, AND AMERICANS DO. IN FACT A SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN MAN TOLD ME, "OF COURSE THERE'S CLIMATE CHANGE." BY THE WAY, WHEN I TURN ON FM, IN O CAN THE EQUAL OF AM, I GET HOLY ROLLER PREACHERS SAYING THINGS LIKE "... AND MICK JAGGER EVEN ADMITTED THAT HE LIKED THE DEVIL!!!!" AMERICA'S SOUTH ALL IDIOTIC? SORRY, THERE WERE LOTS OF US SOUTHERN WHITES WHO WERE IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. NO ONE WANTS TO COVER US. THAT WAY THEY CAN PRESERVE THEIR PREJUDICES. (BRIAN BEING AN EXCEPTION.) GOING TO CANADA IS A TRIP BACK IN TIME TO THE 60's. FIDEL IS THE PATRON SAINT. BLESSED BE HE. OF COURSE, WE SHOULD END THE STUPID EMBARGO, BUT THE GUY'S A DICTATOR. LOOK HIM UP ON REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS. HE PROVIDES EDUCATION AND FOOD. LIBRARIANS ARE IN JAIL. AS YOU ARE IF YOU PLAY THE WRONG MUSIC. WATCH HENRY LOUIS GATES PBS DOCUMENTARY ON "BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA". QUEBEC IS THE BEST PART OF CANADA. LEFTISTS IN THE REST LOVE THE QUEEN. AMERICA IS GERMAN??? THE LADY IS NUTS. ENTERTAINING BUT WHO'D WANT CANADA AS A PARTNER?

Dec. 26 2013 10:55 AM
Sylvain Leroux from NYC

I am totally and entirely against this stupid idea which is motivated by fear and paranoia.

Dec. 26 2013 10:55 AM
KB from Brooklyn

Your guest has so little understanding of Canada beyond the few headlines that make their way into American papers. To focus on a few sensational headlines (Rob Ford, Quebec separatism) as justifications for the US basically taking over Canada is absurd. Her only legitimate concern (territorial security in Canada) has so many other realistic solutions. Your guest's proposition is nothing more than a shameful grab by the US for Canada's resources and offers NO real benefits to Canadians. The US should look at Canada as a role model for social programs, education, health care, and bank regulation, not as some sort of colony to suck resources from.

And as far as Rob Ford goes, don't forget Marion Barry did it first.

This segment merits a response from a Canadian guest.

Dec. 26 2013 10:23 AM
beth

I think you could have picked something much better to replay. Truly awful.

Dec. 26 2013 10:18 AM
Vic from .

Why would there be any interest in creating such a merger, "Ameri-Canada"?What is the (hidden) agenda, here, & who will benefit...?
Is this about creating greater "financial stability" through the efforts of the WTO & the IMF...? Let's just say, in this situation, America has the upper-hand. Will Canada go willingly into these negotiations, or will it require strong "economic medicine" to draw them in?
In any case, such a scheme would seem to fit with the New World Order of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
The TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT is a CORPORATE COUP DÉ ÉTAT ! & must be EXPOSED for what it is _

I am disappointed & disgusted that WNYC has done nothing to raise public awareness & discourse on this critical issue.
It's not too late to do the right thing.!

Nov. 15 2013 09:52 AM
Vic from .

"AmeriCanada - Merger of the century"...(?)
More like, "Scam of the century."
The grain belt is moving north.

Nov. 15 2013 12:05 AM
Canadian in NY from Canadian in NY

As a Canadian living in NY, i would like to say that this woman in no way represents the average Canadian viewpoint. Perhaps growing up in the US has blinded her to some of the fundamental cultural differences between the two peoples, which cannot at all be boiled down to 'germanism' and 'britishism'. Also, she may be critical of the anti-american sentiment she says is prevalent in Canada, but perhaps she doesn't understand that it stems from a wariness and a distrust of our big, bold neighbour. Also, no true Canadian would have done a whole interview about merging with the states without acknowledging that it likely be a highly unpopular idea at home. And finally, she lost any remaining credibility when she said offhandedly that Canadians were fine with climate change. What?!

Nov. 14 2013 08:51 AM
Monique from Harlem

The work ethic comment really stumped me too!
I am dual, grew up in Canada living in NYC for 12 years.
I kind of feel like the US has gorged on their resources and now they want to take Canada's.
There is an old joke in Canada... Why will Newfoundlanders be happy if Quebec separates... they'll be closer to Toronto! I'd be happy if the US separated from America so Canada could be closer to Mexico! (Sorry!)
As much as I have enjoyed living in the US, I still plan on going home some day.
Love the US of Eh! name though!

Nov. 13 2013 07:50 PM

Andrea from NYC,

You have the most accurately articulated measure of "the author".

Nov. 13 2013 02:41 PM

Andrea from NYC,

You have the most accurately articulated measure of "the author".

Nov. 13 2013 01:03 PM

Many questions left unaddressed, but as far as it goes: The author is proposing a merger of our two countries for which the United States would have to pay for the "natural" resources of mineral rich Canada in order that the the Canadian economic order can be defended against the depredations of the mainland Chinese. (I'm assuming that as prosperous as they are, the Chinese living on Taiwan/Formosa [what do the treaties allow us to call it?] are not seen as a threat to anyone other than the "UAW" union. )

While I'm sure that some amount of political graft can be gained for our political class while they decide whether to favor ALCOA by renaming the newly formed country "United Can", I'd like to look to the mainland Chinese for what they would be willing to pay (most likely in the form of cancelling any sovereign debt the U.S. owes China) to take this whole mess of "British sensibility" (is Montreal included in that?) - They could replant the forests in the otherwise barren Mongolian territories and the de-forested Canadian lands could become cities for the Chinese workers that will be needed to mine the remaining "natural resources".

The over-lawyered U.S., lousy with environmental laws and the environmentalists willing to profit by seeking the enforcement of those superstitions, could not hope to ever make a net economic gain, after litigation costs. Better to have Walmart purchase the finished, inexpensive Chinese products.

I expect that the Chines justice system would be effective at lessening the extent of official corruption in their new territories.

祝你好運, Ms. Francis. (maybe you'll accomplish the citizenship "hat-trick")

Nov. 13 2013 12:53 PM
Mike from Tribeca

US religious fundamentalists would insist that Canada's single payer health care system be replaced by a single prayer system.

Nov. 13 2013 11:57 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Thoughts on the proposed merger:

Hey, our baseball leagues are already merged!
For the flag, I suggest widening 2 red stripes & 1 white stripe in the middle of the American flag & putting the maple leaf btwn. them, then narrowing the rest of the stripes to accommodate this.
Once we settle what colours (ahem) to use for the flag, which spellings would we use in Americanada?
Nice mashup of the national anthems...but what about the lyrics? That's the real challenge.

Nov. 13 2013 11:55 AM
Tammy

Please stop extolling the Canadian health system. I was born and raised in Canada and my family has had a number of bad hospital experiences that I would attribute directly to the fact that there's government-sponsored healthcare. I do have to say that it's great to just be able to go to the doctor without worrying about it when you or your child is sick or has worrying symptoms. HOWEVER, the hospital care is really poor. The staff tried to convince my wonderful grandfather to give up when he was ill. Thank G-d he did not and had 2 wonderful years after he was discharged. I had another relative who has developmental disabilities in the hospital with a serious illness. It seemed to us that the staff did not care at all about what happened to him. We had to push and beg for even basic care. He survived as well and is now living a very happy, fulfilling life. A more prosaic case: my relative just had a baby in a Toronto hospital by c-section. There was absolutely no nursery care for the baby. The mother was expected to care for the baby immediately after a c-section. In my experience, the U.S. system, because it's private and therefore competitive, is MUCH better when you actually require hospital care. Not to mention the fact that in Toronto you need to wait for months before getting important tests such as MRIs. There are definitely people who die because they could not get the tests they needed in a timely fashion.

Nov. 13 2013 11:55 AM
Shawn S from Sayreville, NJ

Is America ready for another crack smoking mayor? It's been a while since Marion Barry was RE-ELECTED following his crack scandal.

Nov. 13 2013 11:54 AM
Andrea from NYC

A deeply silly discussion...but she'll probably sell a few books from it.

So delicious that she said (I paraphrase): I'm not an economist or historian or really anything else but this book is full of intellectual rigor, there are 30 pages of end notes! Yes dear, end notes mean that you have intellectual rigor. Sigh.

Nov. 13 2013 11:51 AM
Pennell Somsen from Harlem, NY

Have we forgotten that Mexico is part of North America? Would we just not invite them to the party? Although I think the idea of creating something like the European Union in North America is a very interesting idea, I am deeply offended by not even addressing the fact that Mexico is part of North America.

Nov. 13 2013 11:50 AM
Andrea from NYC

A deeply silly discussion...but she'll probably sell a few books from it.

So delicious that she said (I paraphrase): I'm not an economist or historian or really anything else but this book is full of intellectual rigor, there are 30 pages of end notes! Yes dear, end notes mean that you have intellectual rigor. Sigh.

Nov. 13 2013 11:49 AM
Michael from Bushwick

Ms. Francis does NOT represent the viewpoint of most Canadians (I speak as a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen).

Nov. 13 2013 11:48 AM
Henry from Katonah

Admit Canada to the union? We can't even get the District of Columbia in.
The US has not wanted Canada since the War of 1812 ! Oh well, with climate change, Canada will be warm enough for the US to desire again!

Nov. 13 2013 11:47 AM
Tony from Canarsie

An apt site for the capitol would be Witless Bay, Newfoundland.

Nov. 13 2013 11:46 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

This is a nuts discussion. I meet a Canadian military officer, a colonel, who informed me that Canada’s defense’s is totally enmeshed with America’s military.

Nov. 13 2013 11:46 AM
Katie from Huntington

Canadians would be crazy to become part of the US. It has great health insurance. Canadians have class--US, not so much. Their "corruption" can't compare with what we have here. Don't do it Canadians. You'll be sorry.

Nov. 13 2013 11:43 AM
Stan from Harlem, NY

What does your guest mean when she says that Americans have a better work ethic than Canadians?

Nov. 13 2013 11:43 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Pointless nonsense, and a bad idea for many reasons. For one thing, it is a bad precedent for countries to be changing borders in this day and age. The UN was supposed to preserve the integrity of national borders of its member states.

In any case, the US is still bigger economy than China, and all of this malarkey is nonsense. The main thing is that all countries live up to WTO world trade agreements as they agreed to, and to other international treaties. Otherwise the world will get very, very, very dangerous with everyone getting nukes. The status quo is the best thing and has been for 70 years, and changing things usually makes things much worse.

Nov. 13 2013 11:42 AM
Dee from Montclair

America is a great place to live, as long as you don't get sick or old. As I get older I can't wait to get back to Canada. My son is in University in Canada and says he is never coming back here.

Nov. 13 2013 11:41 AM
Bob from Huntington

Can we get the Canadian form of government instead of the circus we have here?

Nov. 13 2013 11:40 AM
john from Washington Heights

Why would Canada want to merge with us. Unlike the U.S., they have a sensible banking system with a firewall between safe investment banking and the trading system/casino we call the stock market that kept them relatively unscathed during the banking meltdown here in the U.S. Their elections are only three weeks long by law and have to be publicly funded. They're smart, sensible and if you go up and visit, you'll find out most of them are, across the board, way better off than us "live free or die" folk south of the border. Their dollar is at parity with ours and trending upward while ours is trending downward. And they have health care. Sure they have high taxes but the taxes don't pay for foreign interventionism. They leave that to dupes like us. My wife is Canadian and I used to tease her about being a part of a country that was an America-wannabe. Now, not so much. I'm hoping to get my Canadian citizenship through her.

Nov. 13 2013 11:39 AM
Susan

The "glories" of Canada's single payer healthcare. (Along with England's and New Zealand's.)

Lives at Risk: Single-Payer National Health Insurance Around the World
http://www.amazon.com/Lives-Risk-Single-Payer-National-Insurance/dp/0742541525/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383095626&sr=1-1&keywords=Lives+at+risk

Nov. 13 2013 11:38 AM
dan k from Park Slope

You don't hear about it much here, but those in the Eurozone on the Euro, who are not the politicians, are very unhappy about it. Travel there and ask around. The animosity towards Germany is higher than any time I remember in over 30 years. They all want their old currencies back..

Nov. 13 2013 11:38 AM
Erica from BK

I vote no on Proposition: Merger. Canada is where I plan to escape when the proverbial sh!t hits the proverbial fan in the US

Nov. 13 2013 11:38 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Hmmm, it's one thing to make an argument based on business and economic interests, but as evidenced by the EU, the politics, way of life, and societal behavior of individual countries are not exactly easily melded into one. As an American, I can't see Canadians wanting to embrace our society.

Nov. 13 2013 11:38 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Pointless nonsense, and a bad idea for many reasons. For one thing, it is a bad precedent for countries to be changing borders in this day and age. The UN was supposed to preserve the integrity of national borders of its member states.

In any case, the US is still bigger economy than China, and all of this malarkey is nonsense. The main thing is that all countries live up to WTO world trade agreements as they agreed to, and to other international treaties. Otherwise the world will get very, very, very dangerous with everyone getting nukes. The status quo is the best thing and has been for 70 years, and changing things usually makes things much worse.

Nov. 13 2013 11:38 AM
Kate from Manahttan

I never thought I'd hear a good reason to contemplate this but your guest raises some interest ideas (particularly military protection for Canada's resources). Could they do something like the EU though and retain their national identities but are linked economically and politically?

Nov. 13 2013 11:36 AM
Barbara King

Name for a merger of America and Canada: AmeriCan, or CanAmer!

Nov. 13 2013 11:35 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Sure Canadians would love to have America’s insane asylum politics, rightist reactionary primitives who live in the Stone Age. It’s bad enough that we Americans have to live with these lunatics, now lets have the poor Canadians live them?

Nov. 13 2013 11:35 AM
muriel from NYC

First of all any name is better than ChiMerica.
If we do merge does that mean we will be safe against the next financial meltdown or will the Chicago School economists twist the arms of Canada's bankers and force them to open up and run to risky policies?

Nov. 13 2013 11:35 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Shades of Gore Vidal during the 80's calling for an alliance of the USSR and the USA to defeat the unstoppable economic might of Japan, eh?

Nov. 13 2013 11:35 AM
Erica from BK

United States of Canadia

Nov. 13 2013 11:34 AM
Dee from Montclair

Canada is culturally different than the US. I would hate to see it become a junior America. People in the US do not have the compassion of Canadian people and Americans would drown us with their evil materialism.

Nov. 13 2013 11:34 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

For most Americans, I believe this would be a good thing; I'm sure Canadians would have a problem with it. It would improve the US, but disimprove Canada.

I, however, am against it. The government of Canada is still under the rule of the Brits and we Americans fought long and hard to throw off their rule. I'd hate to be a subject of the British Monarchy again.

Nov. 13 2013 11:33 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

"Whose healthcare system would we have?" (Brian's question) is a good one, especially if you believe that the Koch's fight against Romneycare/Obamacare is really intended as a distraction/diversion in the climate change discussions.

See: Thursday, October 17, 2013
If the Government Shutdown Wasn’t About Obamacare (And It Isn’t), Then It Was About?. . . Ready To Be Hot Under The Collar?

http://nationalnotice.blogspot.com/2013/10/if-government-shutdown-wasnt-about.html

Nov. 13 2013 11:33 AM
JP from Brooklyn

No way the Canadians will want anything to do with the Tea Party.

Nov. 13 2013 11:33 AM

Just suppose it did happen...How long before Mexico would want in?

Nov. 13 2013 11:30 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Tom from Toronto

Oh right, those battle hardened Canadians, they're merciless LOL. Recent history doesn't exactly support your point ... Newfoudlanders excluded, they're pretty tough. They can be their own country.

Nov. 13 2013 11:29 AM
Tom from Toronto

Ain't gonna happen. Ever.

And you thought the insurgency in Iraq & Afghanistan was bad?

Nov. 13 2013 11:23 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

One thing to consider is that much of the Canadian economy is a resource extraction economy, not the healthiest, diverse or urban form of economy. Think tar sands. That may give Canada as a future potential component of the United States much more in common with the antebellum South, which was a monoculture focused on King Cotton. (The South was wealthier in terms of income but the North was wealthier in terms of industrial capability, flexibility and resilience.)

Some of us probably think “Canada” . . . a good health care system! And then they might next think politically “blue” just the way that we think of those U.S. electoral maps that are all blue in the north and red in the south imagining a more liberal united country. It might not be that simple. We don’t need allies for the Koch brothers and their many varied efforts to divert us away from taking the necessary steps to address climate change.

Nov. 13 2013 11:21 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

This is a semi-serious topic. Do not spam Quebecois separatist mumbo jumbo. Quebec is part of Canada, now and forever, Americans don't care what quebecer's think, nor do anglophone Canadians, nor the rest of the world except maybe the Basques? They're pretty silly too. Thanks for the poutine though, god I love that stuff...

Nov. 13 2013 11:14 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Looking through Ms. Francis' book I see no reference to Jane Jacobs or her 1980 book “The Question of Separatism: Quebec and the Struggle over Sovereignty,” an impressive omission given the topic. Is Ms. Francis simply dismissive of this thinking that preceded her?

Nov. 13 2013 11:06 AM

I'm cool with it, If we don't include Quebec or Staten Island.

Nov. 13 2013 11:04 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Before we consider merging Canada with the United States we should start by considering whether Quebec should be granted independence from Canada (whether Canada should itself be one country), a question that Jane Jacobs examined closely in 1980 in her book: “The Question of Separatism: Quebec and the Struggle over Sovereignty.”

Her answer, that separation would have been a good thing for Quebec and collectively for all of Canada, then informed her thinking for her later books like “Cities and the Wealth of Nations” (1984). Jacobs was also skeptical about such things like a unified currency for Europe and, if you are reading recent articles like those in the Times, maybe you’d be thinking she was right for the reasons she presciently gave back in the 1980s.

It is possible to view the strengthening of Toronto as a city (where Jacobs moved to from New York) in many ways. In some ways it has become stronger because of good urban practices Jacobs fought for there, but it has also probably grown by cannibalizing what were previously Quebec functions. Would Canada similar suffer at the expense of the United States if they merged?

Nov. 13 2013 10:59 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I don't see the point of a "merger". Canada does what we want them to, their "sovereignty", such as it is, is more useful to the USA than it is to Canada. Since WW2 and the dissolution of the British Empire Canada has been a protectorate or ours with no foreign or domestic policy contrary to the USA's interests. They are tenants at sufferance and they know it - why change?

Nov. 13 2013 10:56 AM
antonio from baySide

I'll never forget after the 2004 presidential election the famous map which went around the internet, showing the states that voted for Kerry merged with Canada...Funny they were all northern states...

Also...
I worked for a Canadian company which had an office in the US and it was really interesting to learn the politics and sensibilities they had...

They had folks on the right of the political spectrum but understood AND appreciated government provided healthcare...It was like Pat Buchanan and Dennis Kucinich had a baby....

Nov. 13 2013 10:54 AM
Francis from Ontario, CANADA

I have great admiration for Ms. Francis and her views, but this time I think she's slipping off her rocker.

Merger? It would actually be more like a takeover.
And just why do I want to join with a country that allows a very small minority of pea brained ultra conservative christians to bring the system to the brink of financial disaster?

As a proud Canadian, I prefer that my American cousins only hear about as a passing reference on the NPR weather report because the more you guys pay attention to a place, the worse it usually gets for them.

Nov. 13 2013 10:20 AM

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